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Thread: Waterproof Backpacks

  1. #1
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    Default Waterproof Backpacks

    Thinking of putting together a pack system using:


    aqua-quest wetpack.jpg
    http://www.amazon.com/Aqua-Quest-Mar...proof+Backpack

    and

    alps pack frame.jpg
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ilpage_o00_s00

    Any one have any experience or thoughts?


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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Have several of the dry bags in different sizes...usually carry in canoe,...... portages just pick up a carry to next put in.

    Haven't really considered long distance carry...but I'm sure the pack frame would certainly help.

    Is there a reason for a water proof other than the obvious?
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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    Depends on what you are using it for. If you truly need a dry bag because you are going to be in a canoe or raft, then get the top kind. I may just be used to Alaskan pricing but that one seems pretty cheap. If you just need a rain cover for your backpack as a backpacker, they sell rain covers for back packing. I'm not sure what you are asking because you are comparing apples and oranges.
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    It depends on your application and budget and the level of comfort you desire etc.

    If you are just hauling your gear from canoe/raft up a hill a few hundred yards or less to your campsite then a frameless bag with shoulder straps like in first link is fine I have several of different sizes like that with roll tops. They work just fine, also I have some dry bags with out straps just put in a mesh bag (type used for practice balls sports) throw over my shoulder and carry up the hill. This works well with small dry bags crammed into hull/hatch of sea kayak. I put most of my dry bags in canvas bags to protect them from wear before I throw them in back of pickup or trailer for long trips across the country so I can get may years of life out of them.

    Many years ago NRS came out with the Paragon pack that had a more comfortable frame with a dry bag that custom fit it retails for $100 but you should be able to find for $70 or less. Currently it appears they are pink, but a few years ago they were blue.
    http://www.nrs.com/product/2933/nrs-paragon-pack

    A far more comfortable and versatile option but for much more money is the "Epic" from ULA equipment they really stand behind their gear, see some great youtube video about how multi-purpose these are. You could cross streams that are chest deep in water and not worry about your clothes and sleep gear getting wet if you had a quality roll top dry bag paired with this. Most importantly it is very light and comfortable!

    http://www.ula-equipment.com/product_p/epic.htm

    Last edited by TXyakr; 08-27-2015 at 01:40 AM. Reason: added YT video of ULA Epic

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    Skip to minute 15:30 see this guy hauling his kid in this ULA Epic pack and a firearm covering his six...



    He demonstrates a wide range of options, very entertaining.

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    I just use a regular pack. If something needs to be protected from water, then I place the item into a dry bag and put the dry bag into the pack. This is pretty much clothing, sleeping bag, maybe an electronic or two.
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    A pack to carry on ones back, in the rain???

    Good luck with that.
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    Alaska, The Madness! 1stimestar's Avatar
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    I have small dry bags including the fold-roll-buckle kind and the heavy duty ziplock-type made by LokSak.
    I have a couple pack covers and a trash bag to line the pack.
    Can't see spending a lot on the other stuff just to keep things dry.
    I also have one of those Snugpack ponchos that fits over the whole setup, including the person.
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    Dry bags and pack covers. I actually don't mind hiking in the rain as long as it's not a torrential downpour. As long as you have the right clothing it's not bad.

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    I agree a little rain never hurt anyone best to be prepared for it. However if it is many hours or days of thunderstorms might be best to just find a good enough camp site and wait it out. I have learned to prefer multiple small roll top dry bags over just one big one. In extreme humidity of a thunderstorm everytime you open one it becomes a moist bag. My canoe/kayak friends just call them moist bags. In the old days 1950's? when folks packed gear in garbage bags these were either known as splash bags or bags full of water. I have a photo somewhere of me with a large ground pad wrapped in a black garbage bag just to keep the stilty river water off, it was strapped to the back of a small sea kayak. Sleeping pads dry off fast.
    If your trail is blocked by a flooded creek also just best to camp for an extra day or two and wait it out but in extreme situations a large dry bag or multiple smaller ones can be used to get you and gear across. In my region some creeks flood for a month or more, and bridges wash out so good luck with staying dry. Well if you and you ice chest are never more than 10 yards from you vehicle like Kyratshooter you probably will stay plenty warm and dry. lol
    Last edited by TXyakr; 08-27-2015 at 07:58 AM. Reason: Flooded trail

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    Yes, a dry bag on an external frame will work. I have done that many times. But, those two options are probably your heaviest. That pack frame is designed to carry a dead animal out of the woods on. So, it is overbuilt. So, I guess, what everyone else is saying is that it depends on what you really NEED. I generally NEED my clothes and sleeping bag to be in a dry bag. The rest of my gear doesn't need to be waterproof. So, I put my clothes and sleeping bag in a plastic sack inside my pack and put the rest of my stuff in the pack, but outside the dry bag. A poncho (or pack cover) will keep the pack dry in rain.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I guess I can't remember plastic garbage bags in the 1950's.....????

    But agree that the garbage bags and zip locks are on the top of the list necessity in todays packing.

    I do like the smaller bags as well, dry or otherwise....as I don't have to dig out what ever I need for the bottom of a big bag.

    Like the big mesh bag idea.... for keeping smaller bags corralled.......Fantastic idea.
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    I plan on taking the system hunting and also rafting/ kayaking.

    That ULA frame u posted the vids on is pretty slick TX, thanks for those vids. I had seen some other ones similar and didn't really feel they would cross over for hunting and hauling game out well. As for the Large Dry bag with the way I set up my bags now, all in separate color coded dry sacks, I can easily rummage through and grab the specific set of gear I am looking for just by color. I just figured on a large dry bag since I could just shove my clothes and blankets in and not have to worry so much about rain covers etc. The times I ever used rain covers water ended up sloshing down my back and then seeping into my pack, and thus I just would end up tossing my pack on under my poncho, which is a bit uncomfortable/ awkward imo.

    went ahead and ordered up both will play with them when they arrive and see if I like the feel/fit.
    Last edited by Davidlastink; 09-03-2015 at 01:13 AM.

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    That sounds like a good plan Davidlastink. I have never found a perfect system for all or even most trips, just methods that work well enough. One friend even puts his folding chair in a very long NRS dry bag then in his canoe which seemed strange to me but I guess he did not want to wait for it to dry out or let it get silty. I put my waterproof camera in a small dry bag and strap it on the front of my kayak for rivers like the Rio Chama (NM) and San Juan (Utah) which have a lot of very fine sediment that messes up the lens and gets everywhere. Standing waves go completely over me and kayak in those rapids.

    If you can find some fairly multipurpose gear it helps to reduce your gear storage and keeps down gear costs. ULA packs are very expensive but also low weight and fairly comfortable if you get one that fits your body size. I imagine you could pack out a small/medium animal or quarter of an elk on an Epic ULA, best to wrap in a game bag first, I would prefer a hard frame however.

    A friend of mine from MN told me he used garbage bags on many canoe trips when he was younger back in the 1960-70s. He is about 65 years old today. Most people that I know used ammo boxes for small items and large aluminum or plastic boxes with gasket lids, perhaps canvas bags treated to be water resistant back before that. When he told me he used garbage bags in a canoe with cold nights, I was like "Really??"

    I have had eVent brand dry bag soak through a bit when it was sitting in water for 8+ hours on a day it rained non-stop and the cockpit kept filling up with water. Flat water river in a sea kayak without a cockpit skirt. (I just don't have good enough looking knees to wear a skirt... joke.) But I packed a quick-dry pair of pants on the bottom below my sleep bag and it took up all the moisture, I slept dry that night.

    Edit: These eVent compression dry sacks are fairly useful for sleep bags but DO NOT let them sit in standing water for very long, more than a minute or two! Several hours and your bag will most likely get moist or wet, that was my experience.
    http://www.rei.com/product/730882/se...cm_mmc:cse_PLA
    Last edited by TXyakr; 09-03-2015 at 08:04 AM. Reason: eVent comp. dry sacks

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    Yeah I prefer solid frame also. And for the most part almost every "dry" bag I have used has been more of a "moist" bag. Kinda liek those waterproof windbreakers that really don't do much in keeping the rain out. I would probably get the Ula is it was sub $100 but thats a tough price point for the sake of lightness when weight isn't the biggest concern for me atm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by natertot View Post
    I just use a regular pack. If something needs to be protected from water, then I place the item into a dry bag and put the dry bag into the pack. This is pretty much clothing, sleeping bag, maybe an electronic or two.

    +1 in agreement - There is not a good reason for a pack cover other than changing appearance or camo. Dry bag your down sleeping bag. Micro fiber or polycro your hunting or backpacking clothes and you are water proof - period. If you really want to keep it light and water proof a 20 gallon garbage bag will work nowadays.

    If it is sealed the pack becomes a survival float when the backpack is on backwards for fording rivers.
    Last edited by Wise Old Owl; 09-05-2015 at 12:11 AM.
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    Backpacking light has had many discussion on this over the years here is one:

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...hread_id=19600

    I agree with those that say that a garbage or compactor bag is very easily torn on brush, and also traps a lot of moisture because it does not breath as well as a quality pack cover and is not as easy to remove and put back on in pouring rain when you need to get something.

    Also eVent and similar dry bags/sacks are much easier to evacuate the air from than many dry bags and especially a garbage bag. Sleeping in a wet bag in sub-freezing weather is something few people repeat, but most will tell the story of repeatedly.

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    I am in total agreement when it comes to going light there are many better options. But for me this seems to fit the bill. I got several trainings and work trips coming up over the next few months but I hope to field test this thing sometime in the early fall before it gets uncomfortably cold. That one ULA vid shows a aftermarket Dry bag, so I feel confident with this one. I have only done the bathtub test but it seems to be working.

    My biggest gripe with light weight systems is that unless you are spending $1000+ you end up with that I'm missing out/ I can do better feeling. The perfectionist in my looks at the $350 down sleeping bag and goes "I need that!" the dad/family man laughs and runs through the list of school gear/supplies / ballet / karate etc. costs and shakes his head. It would be nice to have the water I'm carrying make up 90% of my gear weight though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TXyakr View Post
    Backpacking light has had many discussion on this over the years here is one:

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...hread_id=19600

    I agree with those that say that a garbage or compactor bag is very easily torn on brush, and also traps a lot of moisture because it does not breath as well as a quality pack cover and is not as easy to remove and put back on in pouring rain when you need to get something.

    Also eVent and similar dry bags/sacks are much easier to evacuate the air from than many dry bags and especially a garbage bag. Sleeping in a wet bag in sub-freezing weather is something few people repeat, but most will tell the story of repeatedly.
    Wait trash bag would be torn after whatever tore into the pack. Trash bags today puncture resistant and placed on the inside.... and I dont want it to breathe. I want it to be water tight and odor tight. I have forded streams this way and it survives a dunking. And now we have dry down bags that are water resistant.

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